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Alex Rodriguez Suspended for 2014 Season

An arbitrator has thrown the book at Alex Rodriguez, suspending him for the entire 2014 season as well as the post season, it was announced on Saturday. While it is likely that A-Rod did indeed use PEDs, MLB’s behavior in this case was deplorable and he was treated unfairly by both the league and the arbitration system.

alex rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez has been suspended for the 2014 season.

Rodriguez is vowing to challenge the ruling in federal court, but courts historically do not like to get involved in cases that involve a collectively bargained arbitration process.

The ruling can actually be seen as something of a victory for A-Rod because it reduced the 211-game suspension to 162 games, but still, losing a full season as well as $25 million is a tremendous defeat.

But Alex Rodriguez is not giving up. He issued a statement on Saturday:

The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one. This is one man’s decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable. This injustice is MLB’s first step toward abolishing guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round, instituting lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, and further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review.

I have been clear that I did not use performance enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court. I am confident that when a Federal Judge reviews the entirety of the record, the hearsay testimony of a criminal whose own records demonstrate that he dealt drugs to minors, and the lack of credible evidence put forth by MLB, that the judge will find that the panel blatantly disregarded the law and facts, and will overturn the suspension. No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with, and I am exhausting all options to ensure not only that I get justice, but that players’ contracts and rights are protected through the next round of bargaining, and that the MLB investigation and arbitration process cannot be used against others in the future the way it is currently being used to unjustly punish me.

I will continue to work hard to get back on the field and help the Yankees achieve the ultimate goal of winning another championship. I want to sincerely thank my family, all of my friends, and of course the fans and many of my fellow MLB players for the incredible support I received throughout this entire ordeal.

There are reports that A-Rod was willing to accept a shorter suspension, but nothing longer than the 65 games that Ryan Braun got. That would have been put an end to the saga, but Bud Selig would have none of that. He wanted Rodriguez out, plain and simple.

MLB went to great lengths to achieve Selig’s goal. It bought stolen Biogenesis documents for $150,000, although the league claimed it did not know the documents were stolen when it bought them. Part of the rationale for A-Rod’s extended suspension was for obstructing the investigation for allegedly trying to buy the same documents. So MLB can buy them, but Alex Rodriguez can’t?

MLB also got the cooperation of Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch by agreeing to drop criminal charges against him. So how reliable was this sleazy witness?

Rodriguez stormed out of the arbitration hearings when the arbitrator ruled that Bud Selig did not have to testify. Even though this was not a court of law, A-Rod had the right to face his accuser and this basic right was denied. So when Rodriguez says that the “deck has been stacked against” him, he has a valid point. Selig should have been man enough to get up there and state his case for the 211-game suspension that he handed down. But the way Selig operates, we should not be surprised that he took the coward’s way out.

An appropriate suspension for Alex Rodriguez would have been 50 games, plus a few more for his alleged actions to hinder the investigation (Braun got 15 extra games for his infamous news conference in which he lied about his positive test). Instead, MLB came up with this arbitrary number of 211, and the arbitrator lowered it to an also arbitrary 162.

It is unlikely that Alex Rodriguez will win his fight in court, so he will be gone for all of 2014. This “victory” for MLB will only empower it to continue its thuggish ways in future PED cases.

4 thoughts on “Alex Rodriguez Suspended for 2014 Season

  • Treated unfairly? Mark I think you should stick to your anti-Sandy Alderson rants. MLB gave A-Roid several chances to come clean. Bosch sleazy? Hell yes, but is he worse than any other witness that is granted imunity in exchange for their “sworn” testimony? (Bosch doesn’t look anything like his brother.)

    By the way, A-Roid has yet to testify under oath, so technically he hasn’t denied the charges. He conveniently stormed out of the hearings before he had to testify under oath. He then began a vicious attack against Selig and MLB; a tactic made popular by Bill Clinton during the impeachment hearings – when guilty attack the accusser and the system. Selig had set precedent prior to the A-Roid hearing by not appearing at any of the other hearings. The chief “Enforcement” agents represented Baseball.

    Please explain how MLB is “thuggish” in enforcing the rules?

    Mark, I think you are way off on this one. In my opinion, all of these cheaters should get what they deserve. There is an excellent article in today’s -1/13/14 – NY Post penned by George Mitchell who was in the forefront of the Steroid Enforcement pushback in 2007.

  • you wrote about the PED issue on here before but it’s relevant here so i’ll say it again.

    they should either:

    1. completely allow steroids and let everyone do what they want and just drop this distraction, OR
    2. completely ban it and vamp up the penalties for first time offenders to one and done. you cheat, you’re out. if anyone wants to take the chance and bet their career then they can. And you have to fail a drug test, no more of the speculation, mitchell reports, biogenesis, etc. If you fail then you’re out.

    The problem with #1 is that players are seen as role models so not enough people would like that, and #2 would kick too many players out (at least for a while) to the point where the money from the game would take a hit. So mlb feels the way it is doing things is best for itself, even if it’s a pain for everyone else

  • Mark Berman

    JJ — I have no doubt that Rodriguez used PEDs, and as a first-time offender a 50-game suspension, just like everybody else got, would have been appropriate. But from the start Selig and MLB decided to target A-Rod and make an example out of him. That is why I feel he was unfairly treated.

    As far as MLB and its tactics, it bought stolen documents and bullied Bosch to testify by first bringing and then agreeing to drop charges against him if he cooperated. If this were ever brought to court, the documents would be thrown out and Bosch would be the worst witness since Brian McNamee. Did you see him on “60 Minutes” last night? I’m sure Bosch is telling the truth about some things, but he is also exaggerating and flat out lying about others. No jury would believe him, just like the jury did not believe McNamee.

    Tom — good points. Maybe PEDs should be legal. Aspirin is a performance enhancing drug; it takes the pain away so a player can get onto the field. If that is legal, maybe everything should. Of course this will never, and should never happen. As far as a lifetime ban on a first offense, that is not a bad idea. Although there would have to be exceptions for players who accidentally ingested something or who took medication for another ailment, not knowing it was banned (which was apparently what happened with Marlon Byrd).

  • Hi Mark,

    I’m like a dog with a bone…

    13 other players caught in the Bio-Genesis Scandal co-operated with MLB and cut deals. They all got lesser suspensions because they co-operated. Once faced with the evidence Braun even re-canted. He will be under the microscope for the rest of his career.

    A-Roid could’ve done the same. MLB had the goods on him. I don’t care how MLB got the evidence – the fact remains that they had/have the evidence. All his lawsuits, denials and protests have made him the new Lance Armstrong! A-Roid could’ve have accepted the punishment and moved on. He would be playing in 2014 if he had and earning another 25 million.

    Bosch maybe a slimy character but until they prove him a liar – all the evidence points to his truthful testimony – I am going to believe him over the guy who has made in excess of 350 Million Dollars during his baseball career and who has just named the Players Union in his latest suit. THE same Union that is responsible for him being able to earn that much $$.

    The real losers in all of this are the other teams in the AL East! They’d love to see the Yankees still on the hook for all that cash!

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